**UPDATE: The participating institutions have responded to questions submitted by applicants, and we’ve included a link to those answers under each focus area description below.**
About the Competition
The nine anchor institutions within the Memphis Medical District (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, ALSAC, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Regional One Health, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Baptist College of Health Sciences, Southern College of Optometry and Memphis Bioworks Foundation) annually procure more than $1.2B in goods and services. Their purchasing power bolsters numerous industries throughout the Memphis region and can range from the most advanced medical imaging equipment to paper products for hospital bathrooms.
As part of a collective effort to support more local businesses, these institutions have partnered with EPIcenter to launch a business plan competition. The competition seeks to encourage Memphis-based innovators, entrepreneurs, and existing businesses to help solve operational pain points within the supply chains of the institutions, and use the experience to launch, scale, or expand their businesses.
Additional Information about Competition Focus Areas
The institutions within the Memphis Medical District serve patients from all over the region and beyond, so removing the hassles of transportation for patients and their families is of paramount importance. Our member institutions have expressed interest in finding a local transportation service provider that can manage all elements of patient transportation in a manner that is safe, efficient, and adds additional value for patients and their families. The institutions seek a business or entrepreneur to provide a holistic, end-to-end transportation solution that fully leverages modern routing and logistics technologies that can also integrate related services, such as concierge or valet.
The institutions within the Memphis Medical District manage large fleets of automobiles and other industrial machinery (forklifts, etc) that require regular, scheduled maintenance. To manage the scheduled maintenance, institutions must navigate the dual challenges presented by a lack of facilities for dedicated on-site maintenance and the logistics of regular delivery and pick-up from off-site facilities. The institutions seek a business or an entrepreneur who can emulate the experience of a “full-service shop,” on-site and on-demand. This “mobile mechanic” would offer a variety of services on-site (auto-detailing, belt and light repair, etc.) and structure a business model such that they could handle the demand of the institutions and potentially the demand of their staff and students.
This opportunity has two related tiers, each concerning the need for expedited staffing. On the contractor side, our member institutions regularly need to complete small construction, facilities and repair projects that require an expedited turn-around. However, facilities employees are often focused elsewhere, and the small nature of the projects makes them inefficient for a traditional process of multiple bids. On the volunteer side, institutions face similar challenges in recruiting members for short-term engagements. Short notice, manual labor, non-traditional hours, and the nature of unpaid work present challenges in staffing projects that require quick turn-around.
Our institutions are seeking solutions to these “burst staffing and contracting problems.” For contractors, they are seeking a platform in which institutions could enter the project scope, receive multiple responses from qualified suppliers and execute quickly. For volunteers, they are seeking a similar platform that can be used to recruit, manage and deploy volunteers for mailings, events and other projects.
The institutions within the medical district do business with many vendors – some managing databases of over 30,000 active suppliers. They interact with the suppliers in many ways: sales representatives who regularly visit facilities, customer service representatives to process supply orders, credit representatives to assure timely payments. While many institutions have put systems in place to manage sales representatives, they do not have systems to manage the overall relationship experience with their suppliers in a comprehensive fashion. The institutions are seeking an entrepreneur or existing business to propose a platform or software solution that allows them to manage and communicate with a large number of suppliers on a regular basis. The system would be able to add new suppliers frequently and update the changing nature of their relationships with existing suppliers (i.e during times of volume decrease). The ultimate goal is to enhance and improve their supplier relationship and eliminate the potential for disruption in the procurement process.